KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato The first two years and seven months of life referred to as the First 1,000 Days in the life of a child, is a critical period and the best period to address the prevalence of all forms of malnutrition. 

The Tutok Kainan Supplementation Program aims to address the high rate of malnutrition in the country.  The National Nutrition Council (NNC) Central Office identified six regions as target areas of the program, namely: Region I, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan (MIMAROPA), Region V, Region X and Region XII.

The primary purpose of the program is to provide supplemental food to pregnant women for 90 calendar days and complementary food for children 6-23 months for 180 calendar days and the priority target would be the nutritionally at-risk or undernourished children.

Region XII posted a very high prevalence of stunting children at 40 percent based on the 2015 National Nutrition Survey.  This prevalence rate of malnutrition made the region eligible as beneficiary of the Tutok Kainan Program.

For the initial phase of the program, the region’s priority group are the stunted and wasted 6-23 month old children from the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.  Sarangani is also a beneficiary subject to the submission of their list of malnourished children.

Initial cost allotted for Region XII, as reported during the Regional Nutrition Committee meeting on March 24, 2021, amounts to PhP 14.1 Million.  In this allotment, Sultan Kudarat got the highest share with 46%, Cotabato Province got 29%, while South Cotabato and General Santos City received 26%.

Per guideline, food rations will be provided to the target beneficiaries using the mode authorized by the local health office. Preferably, it will be through daily house-to-house ration, or pick-up of cooked meal/snacks by the beneficiaries from a strategic location in the area.

Activities lined up for the program are social preparation, LGU mobilization, nutrition communication and education, nutrition sensitive interventions linking project beneficiaries and monitoring.

As of March 22, 2021, areas with Memorandum of Understanding are South Cotabato Province, and the municipalities of Surallah and Banga.

Moreover, the “Tutok Kainan” also aims to ensure the health of the nutritionally at risk pregnant women.  The program considers the enhanced nutri-bun supplementation feeding for pregnant women.

The Department of Science and Technology XII, one of the member agencies of RNC XII is scouting for interested bakeries to adopt the e-nutri-bun technology. To date, there are four bakeries in the region that signified their intent. 

NNC Executive Director Azucena Dayanghirang talked about the Tutok Kainan program and she said “If we lose this opportunity to intervene in this critical period, we expect children to be stunted for the rest of their life as stunting becomes irreversible beyond 2 years and that stunting not only affects physical development but also mental development”.  This program will support the goal of accelerating human capital development, one of the strategies in the Regional Development Plan. (Evie Arabis Cabulanan, NEDAXII-DRD)